Social media marketing and online marketing got a boost from Facebook this week. Now armed with only a photo, everyone will know who you are. Are you concerned about privacy issues and Facial Recognition technology?
In a world that has become obsessed social media marketing, and we all share every bit of our lives on sites like Facebook, how do you feel about Facebook using Facial Recognition technology to identify you in anyone’s photos on the website? Do you really understand what is happening when they do this? Even the fact that Facebook, a website, has this kind of technology is a little creepy. Here is a look at the issues, and some of the reasons why you should be concerned.
What is the Technology?
Facial Recognition technology takes specific points on your face, to learn to recognise you. These points will not change over time. For example, the difference between the inner most points of your eyes. The distance between the outer most points of your eyes. The distance between your cheek bones. Essentially, there are a number of points that are taken on your face, and although there will be slight changes in these distances, with a number of measurements, it is easy enough to know if a photo or image of you, is you.
Where is this being used?
Have you passed through Australian immigration lately? As you enter the country you don’t even talk with an immigration official anymore. You place your passport, your passport with the chip and your biometric data on the reader, and several cameras take several 3D images of your face. The chip that contains your biometric data, is the reference point for the images being taken by those cameras. The machine then calculates if it is actually you. This kind of technology is being used by many countries around the world. I know of people who were travelling on another passport with another name, and when they tried to enter China, they were rejected. Their biometric data had been captured in their previous visit to China on a previous name. The camera took their photo, and could match it with information that was already stored in the main system. This kind of technology is not limited to immigration and customs. Police and other government departments all around the world are also using this technology. This is about protecting our societies.
A private company like Facebook has this technology and has introduced it into their site. This is the site that has over 500 million users and apparently 100 million photos are tagged daily. Do you not fear for your personal privacy? You can turn of this automatic facial recognition feature in your privacy settings, but that does not mean FB is not collecting that data on you. We can’t stop the advancements in technology, but at the same time we should be aware.
Who has access?
Can online marketing companies be giving you adverts based on your data because they are able to recognise your photo? Can your every movement be monitored by governments and other international agencies? Can someone take a photo of you in the street and be able to download every detail about you ever recorded on the internet? The answer to all of these questions is a simple ‘yes’.